Heatwave & Average Salaries in Tenerife News of the Week

Tenerife Magazine’s round up of some of the most interesting news stories of the week in Tenerife.

The Hot Rock
Summer got off to a sizzling start on Tenerife with the arrival of a heatwave bringing temperatures of 36C to southern and eastern parts of the coast and 38C in the hills. Whilst that might sound like heaven to anyone experiencing a damp squib of a summer elsewhere, the searing temperatures prompted the AEMET, Spanish Meteorological Office, to issue an orange level weather warning (in layman’s terms that’s dangerously hot). A thick dust cloud accompanying the hike in temperatures blotted out the sun and the scenery making Tenerife somewhat of a hot, sticky and hazy holiday destination. The heatwave should burn out by Thursday with temperatures returning to a more sunbathing friendly upper 20s Centigrade.

Blue Flag and WiFi
Having lost the blue flag status in 2011 for Playa del Socorro, Los Realejos council have shown that, after regaining the blue flag this year, they are serious about holding on to it in future. A series of initiatives should make it the most hi-tech beach in the north of Tenerife. First is the installation of a new webcam, the second is the addition of a defibrillator and the third is making the beach a free wifi zone. Apparently you can even swim and sunbathe there as well.

Canary Islands Top… for Lowest Salaries
Figures released by Spain’s National Institute of Statistics revealed that workers in the Canary Islands are on the lowest average wage in the whole of Spain. Although average annual earnings are €20,983 for men and €17,601 for women, the actual wage earned by the majority of people is much lower. For Spain that figure is around €16,489 and lower in the Canary Islands. Best paid region is the Basque Country where the average is €26,593. High wage earners, as in other countries, bump up the national average with the big earners being those who work in the utilities industries where the average wage comes in at a whopping €48,803. That explains how they work out the electricity bills then.

El Hierro Rumbling Again
Is El Hierro about to experience another eruption? With 238 minor earthquakes registered in 24 hours at the beginning of the week, the signs are there that it’s not beyond the realms of possibility.

Come on Baby Light My fire
The Midsummer San Juan celebrations lit up the island on Saturday night… literally. Firemen across the island were called out to extinguish 59 fires, most in the Metropolitan area. Thankfully none were serious ““ it was just an average hot San Juan night.

And finally the TIT (This Is Tenerife) of the week award goes to”¦ The Counsellor for Sports in Santiago del Teide
It was red faces all round in Santiago del Teide when it was discovered that an amount of money had been transferred from council funds to the account of a private team participating in the municipality’s Carrera de Montaña Almendros y Volcanes race. The money was transferred by Santiago del Teide’s Counsellor for Sports who coincidentally happened to also be the president of the racing team whose account the money was transferred to.
Apparently it was all a big mistake caused by confusion over bank account numbers and the money has now been returned to the public purse.


My Tenerife, A Personal View From Gavin Lewis

I’ve just returned home from my 3rd successive visit to the island of Tenerife. My wife and I love the place and we keep coming back for more. Our first visit was in 2007, but we returned once again in 2010 for our Honeymoon and then for a 3rd time this February. If you believe everything you read in the travel press about Tenerife you may be forgiven for thinking we had both lost the plot. Tenerife is portrayed as a bit of a tourist trap, full of beer-swilling louts making the most of their all inclusive bar whilst turning an unhealthy shade of maroon. In some parts yes, this may well be true.


However, if you look beyond the outer edges of these tourist hotspots you’ll find an island of superlatives. There aren’t many places that let you go from sea level to the highest point in Spanish territory in just a few miles. There aren’t many places that allow you to enjoy year-round warm sunshine in one part of the island only to find snow, rain or gale-force winds a few miles up the road. Tenerife is blessed by a variety of climates thanks to its dramatic terrain. As the landscape changes from one of dry, scorched soil and cactus (and Euphorbia plants…) to lush green grasses and terraced plantations, the towns and villages also change. Head to Santiago del Teide, Vilaflor or Oratava a few miles inland and you’ll no doubt wonder if you are actually still on Tenerife. The armies of sunburned tourists are nowhere to be found; the architecture changes from high-rise apartments and hotels to a mix of styles reflecting the island’s long history and the people are busy living their lives, doing what they do.

Keep heading uphill and you’ll reach the pine forests. The searing heat of the south is replaced by clean, crisp, and cool air and the road is enveloped in lush, green pine trees and clouds.. Keep climbing a little further and the trees suddenly disappear to reveal a landscape that wouldn’t look out of place on Mars. The national park is a sight to behold, with unusual rock formations, craters and lava flows from ancient eruptions and it boasts a 12,198ft centrepiece, Mount Teide.


This is the Tenerife I keep coming back to.

Words and images by Gavin Lewis – Tenerife Magazine reader, blogger & amateur photographer from Wales.


Not Even a One Horse Town Plus Gangsters and Heroes in Tenerife News of the Week

Tenerife Magazine’s round up of some of the most interesting news stories of the week in Tenerife.

A Tenerife Hero
This week Tenerife’s President, Ricardo Melchior and the Mayor of Santa Cruz, José Manuel Bermúdez paid tribute to a Tenerife hero, Lieutenant General Antonio Benavides, by laying a crown of flowers on his tomb at the Iglesia Matriz de la Concepción in Santa Cruz on the 250th anniversary of his death.
Antonio Benavides, born in La Matanza, was a soldier whose story is the stuff of movies and historic fiction. Apart from demonstrating bravery and heroism in a number of battles, he ostensibly saved the life of King Felipe V during a skirmish in Asturias by giving the King his less recognisable war horse, it was a gesture which nearly cost him his own life. As a reward he was made Governor of Florida which, in 1718, seemed more a punishment than a reward. Florida at that time really was the wild, wild west. Benavides found himself battling Native American Indians, English settlers and even pirates in his quest to bring law, order, peace and prosperity to the state. But he managed it and even struck up a treaty with the Appalachian tribes who came to trust Benavides because of the respect he showed to them and their rights as indigenous peoples. He remained governor until 1734 when he was reassigned to Veracruz in Mexico. Despite his distinguished career Antonio Benavides died in poverty back in Tenerife at the age of 85. These few lines only give a taster of the exceptional life of this heroic Tenerife soldier, it’s worth delving deeper into his story. It’s good to see that a Tenerife’s son who helped shape history is still remembered and honoured.

Photographing The Firm
What does a photo documentary by Jocelyn Bain Hogg illustrating scenes from the lives of people involved with the British organised crime scene have to do with Tenerife? Some of these ‘gritty’ images were shot (maybe not the best phrase to use) in Tenerife.

Navidad is Over…Time to Get the Wallet Out
Almost as soon as the Tres Reyes clip-clopped out of town on the backs of their grumpy camels, the fervour started anew with the beginning of the traditional winter sales on Tenerife and the other Canary Islands. From the 7th of January until the 6th March our favourite shops will have rebajas plastered all over their windows and people will be forking out less money for items they don’t really want or need. The sales can be a nightmare for the first few days but after that things calm down. For anyone not on Tenerife during this time, there’s a second chance to pick up some Tenerife bargains as there are also summer sales which will last from 2nd July to 1st September on all the islands except El Hierro where they’ll run from 15th July to 15th September.

Navidad is Over Part 2 ““ Get Ready for Carnaval
Almost before the last firework has petered out, it’s time to start preparing for Carnaval 2012 on Tenerife. Carnaval die-hards will want to know that tickets for the murga contests and the election of the carnaval queen are now on sale. Tickets for the murgas cost around €10 and €19 for the final (do people really pay that much?) and €10 to €15 for the election of the queen. They are on sale at generaltickets.com

And finally the TIT (This Is Tenerife) of the week award goes to”¦Santiago del Teide
Sometimes it seems as though Spanish officialdom is hell bent on making life as difficult as possible for small businesses. How else can we explain why, in the middle of an economic crisis when local authorities should be supporting businesses in their community, officials in Santiago del Teide take an opposite stance. Some cafes and restaurants in the town were forced to remove tables and chairs from the pavement even though owners claimed they’d paid the required taxes to have them there. The reason seems to have been a decision to enforce a law that had been more or less ignored since 2005. Laws are laws and have to be complied with, but the gripe in the town is that there was no consultation beforehand, no period of grace to resolve the issue before it became a problem. Even the iconic horse and cart that is a symbol of the town apparently fell foul (foal) of the law.

The perverse aspect to this is that in troubled times a council would take a course of action that makes it less attractive for tourists to stop there. Where’s the horse sense in that?


Top Ten-erife Days Out

Tenerife may be one of the world’s most popular winter sun getaways, but when the novelty of lying half naked on the beach while the folks back home are shivering in their boots wears off, where can you go to see something more than sun, sand, sea and theme parks? Our advice is to sort yourself out some Tenerife car hire and check out these fabulous days out…

1. Teide National Park – if the only place you’ve seen Mount Teide is through the window of your aircraft as you arrive and depart the island, then you’re missing one of the most spectacular landscapes on earth.

2. Masca ““ whatever you’ve read in the brochures or heard from the tour reps, it still won’t prepare you for the wow factor you’ll experience as you enter this lost paradise nestling amongst colossal peaks on the edge of the world.

3. Garachico ““ the little town that fought its way out from under a volcanic eruption to provide amazing rock pools where you can swim with tropical fish, the prettiest plaza on Tenerife and more picturesque scenes than you can point a camera at.

4. La Orotava ““ stretch the thigh muscles on a stroll around Tenerife’s most aristocratic town to uncover stunning island architecture, beautiful parks and gardens and excellent souvenir shopping in the town that gives us streets paved with petals.

5. Candelaria ““ the spiritual heart of the Canary Islands, pilgrims travel on foot and on their knees to worship at the feet of the Black Madonna. Luckily, buses also run from all over the island to transport you to the bronze icons of a forgotten era.

6. Santa Cruz ““ When its streets aren’t filled with the semi-naked women, drag queens and Maquinería bands of Carnaval, they’re home to museums, art galleries, splendid architecture and pretty plazas spread around the island’s best shopping and bordering a busy cruise liner port.

7. Santiago del Teide – travel into the rural heartland for a Tenerife a million miles away from its popular travel brochure image. Riding stables, picnics under the eucalyptus trees, a beautifully restored country house and unspoilt beauty await.

8. La Laguna ““ pack an umbrella and goad the rain gods with a trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Tenerife’s former capital city. Beautifully restored mansions and monasteries span five centuries and they have one of the best farmer’s markets on the island.

9. Icod de los Vinos ““ with a pedestrianised street lined with pavement cafes and boutiques, a splendid church square and a butterfly farm, there’s more to Icod than just dragon trees, volcanic tubes and Jackass antics.

10. Vilaflor – climb up into the pine forest where thermal spas and fir trees create a landscape more akin to an alpine village than Spain’s highest, and try to resist the urge to yodel.


You’d Be Nuts To Miss The Almond Blossom Walk In Santiago Del Teide

Sugared or covered in chocolate, that’s probably your childhood memory of almonds, after all they don’t just grow on trees, hmm hang on, apparently they do. Memorable crunches were very much on my mind when I first heard of Ruta del Almendra, the annual almond blossom walk in Santiago del Teide but a 4 hour wander through boughs of pink and white petals soon opened my eyes to one of nature’s best shows in west Tenerife.

Weather conditions make it a fine balancing act to try to catch the blossom in peak form and this year the season kicks off a little earlier on Saturday 29 January as Santiago del Teide Ayuntamiento (council) provide a guided tour for a mere 4 euros. Two years ago I roused myself for a 9.30 am start from the plaza outside the Ayuntamiento town hall in a chilly Santiago del Teide. Some 120 walkers had signed up and gathered with backpacks of water, food, and extra jumpers as well as sturdy shoes and an appetite for adventure.

A rough track behind the town hall led us in staggered groups onto the main road and down the Valle de Ariba turn off. Starting at this already elevated level the wind can whip across on the open path but it kept me alert and appreciative of the clear stream trickling alongside the path and the majestic pines rising up the hillside in the distance. An old small church made an interesting diversion and also marked the turning point to a rising path across the road to the right. This is where the going got a little tougher, a mix of mud and large stone blocks requiring big steps and careful footwork.

The day I did the walk was just after a stormy few weeks and it was part curse and part blessing. The almond trees began to appear as we climbed and even after a prolonged shaking from the wind there was still quite a bit of defiant blossom left. On the plus side the rains had left a stunning legacy. As we broached the hill Mount Teide appeared, capped extensively with glistening snow; a fine reward for our climbing efforts. This year’s scorching weather should see less snow but lots more blossom, you’re a winner either way.

Pushing on, the path descended into the Chinyero lava fields, a sea of craggy dark volcanic outpouring, tricky to walk on but with fascinating patterns to admire. Chinyero was the last Tenerife eruption in November 1909 and walking over an important part of history added a new edge to the day. One final descent took us down a natural staircase into the old village of Arguayo where the guides gave talks about the history of the area and later a fine spread was laid on in the sports hall. A coach back to Santiago del Teide completed an engrossing day and gave us a chance to rest our legs.


The Saturday 29 January walk is organised by Santiago del Teide council, costs 4 euros and places are limited. Call 922863127 ext 234 to book.

After that date a private company El Cardon recommended by the council organise guided walks. They are on 922127938


Top Ten-erife Sculptures

From a perfect set of buttocks or an octopus tentacle escaping from a basket, to being a bath time voyeur ““ these are my top Tenerife stone people.

1. The Fish Wife ““ Puerto de la Cruz.
At the entrance to the harbour, Julio Nieto’s pretty fish wife with her flowing skirts and her mouth poised mid “cockles, and muscles, alive, alive -o” (or whatever the Spanish equivalent is) is a beautiful tribute to the town’s fishing industry which is still one of its biggest assets.

2. Mencey Bentor – Los Realejos.
Marking the spot from which he threw himself to his death rather than see his beloved island enslaved to the enemy, Mencey Bentor rails at the sky and the hopelessness of the Guanche plight against the Spanish conquistadors. The stunning views are enhanced even more by this impressively proportioned hero.

3. Fecundidad ““ Parque García Sanabria, Santa Cruz.
Casting all who see her into the role of bath time voyeurs, the fountain setting of Fecundidad is irresistible memory stick fodder. Rainbows dance around her permanently wet, plump knees as she bathes ““ the perfect depiction of the fertility of this paradise island.

4. Museo del Pescador ““ Puerto Santiago.
Bernard Romain’s fantastic depiction of life on and below the ocean’s waves on the building’s façade is easily missed as you navigate the bend but at the risk of taking out a headlamp, it’s a west coast must-see.

5. ‘Courage’ ““ Plaza del Principe, Santa Cruz.
The orator seems so at home beneath the trees in the busy Principe park where he daily preaches his gospels. Joining his audience on the plinth, Hanneke Beaumont’s art work provides the perfect opportunity for visitors to get in on the act.

6. Teatro Guimerá.
The iconic bronze mask is a stunning landmark for the capital’s historic theatre and what’s more, by leaning nonchalantly against the nose, it lends itself to the coolest of 70s album cover poses.

7. Alonso Díaz ““ Santiago del Teide.
Testament to the power of perseverance and the victory of the little man against the might of conquest, the Guanche goatherd Díaz and his kid goat have come to symbolize the pretty rural hamlet in which they reside.

8. Monument to the Fallen, Plaza España.
Proving irresistible to anyone with a penchant for the perfect buttocks are the warriors who stand guard over the Spanish Civil War memorial in the capital’s heart.

9. Cha Domitila ““ Arguayo.
Illustrating the strength and skill of the women who traditionally crafted the distinctive pottery of the area, these sculptures look perfect against their cliff face backdrop.

10. Monument to the Defeat of Nelson, Santa Cruz.
The distraught woman with her clenched fists is the perfect depiction of defiance as she stands as firm and as unmovable as the Anaga Mountains behind her.

And just to keep all you sculpture fans out there happy, the photo of the woman on the home page is the Monument to the Defeat of Nelson. Mencey Bentor was our photo challenge a while back. And here are photos of the rest of the top ten. From left to right: The two pottery girls of Cha Domitila, Courage in Santa Cruz (clearly taking a night class) and Alonso Díaz with his dinner…err I mean goat.